The numismatics collection at the Wilson contains approximately 5000 coins, 200 medals and 50 banknotes spanning just over 2200 years of history in Cheltenham and beyond. These objects have come to the museum via archaeological discoveries, gifts by avid local collectors and through one off donations by private individuals.
The coin collections form the bulk of the numismatics at The Wilson and include examples ranging from ancient Greek and Roman issues right up to the new British one pound coin issued in 2017. The collection is particularly strong in Roman and medieval coins, although there is also a variety of modern and foreign coins in the collection.
Two local hoards feature in collections, the Willersey Hoard and the Winchcombe Hoard. The Willersey hoard was discovered in 1968 and is made up of 56 late Roman silver coins dating to around AD 350-363. It was found with a silver ring and near two graves. The hoard is mainly composed of siliqua although one miliarense was present. The Winchcombe Hoard was discovered in 1997 and is made up of 251 late medieval silver coins. The hoard was found in a ceramic jar and the coins date from 1547 to 1644. It contains sixpence, shillings and half crowns and was buried during the English Civil War.
In addition to coins, the Wilson also holds a variety of 17th century and later tokens from Gloucestershire and some surrounding counties. These range from tokens commemorating local or national events to local tokens that circulated as money. A particular highlight of these collections is the commemorative token for the visit of George III in 1788.
The Wilson has a small but significant collection of medals. The main part of the collection consists of military medals awarded to members of the Whinyates family, who lived in Cheltenham during the 19th century. These cover a period in England’s history when the country was almost permanently at war. The remainder of much of the collection is made up of medals awarded to other local people for many of the major conflicts of the past 200 years but also features non military medals created to mark special events.
Bank notes form a small but important part of the numismatics collection and the Wilson holds examples ranging from 1812 to the 1980’s. These include local issues from the Cheltenham & Gloucestershire Bank, the Winchcombe Bank and the Gloucester City Old Bank.
The Willersey Coin Hoard
In 1968 a hoard of 56 silver Roman coins and a silver ring were discovered in the village of Willersey in north...
The Winchcombe Coin Hoard
On 23 October 1997, three men were digging trenches and laying pipes during a construction project to build houses in...
Cheltenham and Local History: The Medal Collection
The Wilson has a small but significant collection of medals. The main part of the collection consists of medals awarded...